Nigeria and Israel at the weekend signed a Joint Declaration for Bilateral Cooperation on Agriculture to strengthen the two countries’ bilateral cooperation in agricultural sector.
Under the agreement, Nigeria hopes to learn from Israel’s experiences in research-based, technology-driven agriculture practice to leverage the current drive for food security and sustainable growth of the sector..
The implementation of the Declaration, which was jointly signed by the two Ministers of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwumi Adesina (Nigeria) and Yair Shamir (Israel), on behalf of their respective governments, is expected to impact on Nigeria’s efforts to improve agribusiness knowledge and boost productivity at all levels of agricultural value chains.
Specifically, Nigeria plans to use the new partnership to leverage on the current Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) achievements by ensuring that Nigerian farmers and agribusinesses benefit from the extensive knowledge, experience and technology practices of Israeli agribusiness.
Dr. Adesina explained that the new partnership would not only add great value to Nigeria’s efforts targeted at achieving food security but also boost the two countries’ bilateral socio-economic relations which, he said, had existed for several decades.
The minister, recalled that the landmark achievements of Israel in areas of medicine, technology, education and economic developments from which most Sub-Saharan African countries, including Nigeria had benefitted over the years.
He disclosed that one of the mutual benefits derived from the Nigeria-Israeli bilateral relations in recent years was that Nigeria has become more than $1 million market for Israeli private sector companies.
He listed some of the benefits of the joint Declaration as its potential for Nigeria to learn from Israel’s micro irrigation practice, horticulture, diary and fish production, mechanisation and sustainable land management.
“Today, Nigeria has become a more than $1 million market for Israeli private sector companies. Over 15 Israeli companies operate in Nigeria across multiple sectors, including agribusiness.
“The Nigeria-Israel Agricultural project sited in Bompai village, near Minna in Niger State involved in modern drip irrigation farming sponsored by the State of Israel for the benefit of the host community to commemorate Israeli’s 60th Independence Anniversary.
“I want to ensure that Nigerian farmers and agribusinesses benefit from the extensive knowledge, experience and technology practices of Israeli agribusiness. This is particularly important in the areas of irrigation and water management, horticulture, research, science and technology, fisheries and aquaculture, livestock production, among others”, the Minister added.
His Israeli counterpart said his country’s goal was to make the two countries grow and make food security a right for the people, adding that “we are a small country but we have been able to transform our society through extensive research and deployment of technologies in areas of agriculture”
While noting the huge potentials of Nigeria in terms of natural and human endowments that would help in achieving the objectives of the new partnership, Shamir observed that with Nigeria’s location and possibilities in areas of agriculture the country occupied a strategic position to drive the vision for food security in the ECOWAS sub-region and indeed, the African continent.